News roundup, April 7: Senator wants $25k ‘heroes pay’ for truckers; driver appreciation at S.C. rest areas; free meals

Updated Apr 9, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, April 7, 2020:

N.Y. senator calls for $25k for truckers, frontline COVID-19 workers
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) wants truck drivers and other frontline workers to receive $25,000 in what he is calling “heroes pay” for their roles in the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. His request comes as Congress tackles a second COVID-19 economic rescue package.

In addition to truckers, Schumer’s proposal would include nurses, grocery store clerks and others he said are essential to keeping Americans safe.

Schumer says the payment would be equivalent to a raise of $13 per hour from the start of the public health emergency until December 31, 2020. His proposal also calls for a $15,000 essential worker sign-on bonus to attract and secure the workforce needed to fight the public health crisis.

More appreciation for professional drivers

The ExpressTruckTax team on March 28, 2020, employed a restaurant in its area to prepare and then themselves delivered meals to working drivers along I-77 in South Carolina in appreciation for the critical role drivers play in the supply chain.The ExpressTruckTax team on March 28, 2020, employed a restaurant in its area to prepare and then themselves delivered meals to working drivers along I-77 in South Carolina in appreciation for the critical role drivers play in the supply chain.

Between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 28th, the ExpressTruckTax company provided 100 meals from a location of Hwy 55 Burgers to professional truckers at the at the NB and SB rest areas just south of Rock Hill, S.C., on I-77, near milepost 65.

“We would like to do this again,” says Charles Hardy, director of administration at ExpressTruckTax parent company SPAN Enterprises.

SPAN CEO Agie Sundaram pointed out that while much of the world is shut down, “truckers are expected to keep going to keep our shelves stocked. With most restaurants closed, it makes it harder for these drivers to find food options, and their trucks are way too big for a drive-thru.” Reports of even some truck stops closing their doors, or not accepting cash payments, Sundaram added, make it “harder for these Americans to find food on the road. We at wanted to take this opportunity to show our appreciation to these great folks.” Find a video from the event at this link.

The company also delivered “about 40 meals that day to the hospital staff of Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill,” Hardy adds, in appreciation of front-line medical workers.

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New ‘Driver Care’ meals offer
The Flock Freight partial/LTL-consolidating brokerage platform launched a “Driver Care” program in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and in appreciation of risks professional drivers take to keep supply chains running and put food on tables. The Driver Care program will continue to expand, but the first offering from Driver Care is simply a free meal on Flock Freight (for carriers and drivers signed up with the brokerage):

  • Drivers and their families are able to receive credits for DoorDash or other delivery platforms, restaurant chain gift cards, or Lyft credits.
  • Individuals will be provided $15 credits, families will be provided with $20 credits.
  • Drivers can request a meal on Flock Freight via this link.

Oregon Trucking Associations offering free lunch to truckers Thursday
The Oregon Trucking Associations will be offering truck drivers free lunch on Thursday, April 9, at the Woodburn Port of Entry (I-5 southbound at mile marker 274). OTA will be on site 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., or until lunches run out.

Truck drivers traveling along that stretch of I-5 are invited to stop in for a free boxed lunch and bottled water, handed out – contact free – by representatives from OTA.

Donations to OTA’s Driver Appreciation Fund can help provide meals for more drivers. OTA says a $10 donation provides one meal.

St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund gets $50k donation
The St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund announced Monday it received a $50,000 donation from C.H. Robinson – one of the largest donations the nonprofit has received.

Donations to SCF help provide financial assistance to ill or injured truck drivers in the form of direct payments to providers for household expenses, including mortgages/rent, utilities, vehicle payments and insurance.

“Alongside all the healthcare workers, truck drivers on the road right now are true heroes, battling this virus on the frontlines,” stated SCF Executive Director Dr. Donna Kennedy. “Within the next two weeks we expect to see a significant increase in truckers contracting the coronavirus, many of which do not have healthcare coverage or the financial means to support their families.”

Cummins donating materials to help with N95 respirator mask shortage
Cummins is partnering with DuPont during the COVID-19 pandemic to use the companies’ technology to make N95 respirator masks to help address the nation’s shortage.

Cummins’ NanoNet and NanoForce Media technology, which use DuPont’s Hybrid Membrane Technology (HMT), are usually found in air, fuel and lube filters used in heavy-duty diesel engines. Cummins says these technologies can also be used in the N95 respirator masks worn by healthcare workers to filter harmful airborne particles that can spread the coronavirus and other airborne disesases. N95 masks block 95% of particles from entering the wearer’s nose and mouth.

“Cummins is re-evaluating our supply base and manufacturing capabilities to identify how we can support our healthcare professionals who rely on critical personal protective equipment to do their jobs,” said Amy Davis, Vice President of Cummins Filtration. “Our NanoNet Media can fill a key supply void and help address the mask shortage facing the United States and other countries around the world.”

Cummins has worked with the University of Minnesota to create masks using the Cummins-donated media.

TCA launches site dedicated to Highway Angels
The Truckload Carriers Association has launched a new website solely dedicated to recognizing Highway Angel recipients. The site shows recent and historic a Highway Angels, as well as Highway Angel of the Year winners.

The site allows the public to read recipients’ stories, view dashcam footage, listen to sound bites from driver interviews and more. TCA has also streamlined the process for people to nominate drivers for the honor.